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erwin Expert Blog Enterprise Architecture

What Is An Enterprise Architecture Kanban Board?

Collaboration is vital to enterprise architecture, and one of the ways to facilitate collaboration is through an enterprise architecture Kanban board. It is an ideal way to manage and track work in progress.

Ultimately, the goal of an enterprise architecture initiative is to provide the organization with a complete view of the enterprise, its assets and functions.

A thorough approach to this requires input from the wider business and an enterprise architecture Kanban board can do just that.

A Brief History of Kanban Boards

Kanban boards are based on the concept of Kanban, a tool to visualize, organize and complete work.

In short, they are the visual storyboard for a process or workflow. They represent the journey and the concepts within that journey. Concepts are represented as cards on the board. Concepts may be moved from one stage to another by dragging a concept.

The first official use of Kanban can be traced back to Taiichi Ohno’s work at Toyota. He needed a way to quickly communicate to all workers how much work was being done, what state it was in, and how the work was progressing.

His goal was to make information and processes transparent to everybody and not just the management team – starting to see the relevance to enterprise architecture?

Kanban boards allow users to show the journey of concepts through your processes, improving visibility for the whole team.

Kanban Board Stages and Limits

A Kanban board is composed of stages. Stages are the placeholders for status of work and contain concepts. Depending upon the Kanban board that you are using, different types  of concepts may be present on a stage.

Each stage may be defined with a limit. A limit provides a maximum count for the number of concepts that can exist on a stage at any one time. This prevents a stage from being overloaded with too much work.

The use of stages also allows the Kanban process to be streamlined. The use of limits in various stages can force concepts along a pipeline and ensure that current work is complete before more work is added to a stage. Usually Kanban boards have administrators that may define the stages and limits on a Kanban.

Kanban Board Examples

Following are some examples of Kanban boards:

Innovation Management: Provides a journey through innovation management

Ideas Roadmap: Provides a roadmap by quarter of where ideas are likely to be released

Ideas Management: Provides a journey of the status of ideas on a simple task board

Requirements Management: Visualizes requirements over a development Kanban

Feature Management: Shows where a set of features are in the development process

Skills Management: Provides a view of what skills training is required to be planned

There is no dedicated “enterprise architecture Kanban board,” so they are completely customizable. Therefore, an “enterprise architecture Kanban board” describes a Kanban board used within the context of EA.

Agile Enterprise Architecture & Kanban Boards

Kanban derives from the just-in-time manufacturing methods that revolutionized manufacturing by focusing on what is needed to achieve a particular result and integrating the supply chain to maximize production.

In the agile enterprise architecture approach the production line is our contextual architecture for a particular change program or project and our supply chain in the myriad group of SMEs, partners, suppliers and the overall EA model.

It’s by connecting these parts that we can produce accurate, relevant, verified models to support the project teams that will implement the changes within the organization.

The agile EA approach places Kanban at the heart of managing the change context model and provides a clear focus on which elements of the architecture are needed in a particular context and provides direct connection to the wider stakeholders for collaboration.

When adopting an agile approach to EA, Kanbans provide a great way to move work forward at ease to achieve an end goal or objective. Kanban boards provide a “work- in- progress” view of EA concepts.

They provide an ideal way to track the visibility and status of our work in progress and provide a visual set of stages. Each stage contains a set of ‘cards’ that represent concepts.

Enterprise architecture kanban

For example, a card could be an idea, business capability or an application component. Each stage is identified by a name and a description of the stage. There are many different ways of defining a Kanban board. A typical board has the stages – Parked, To Do, Doing and Done.

However, most companies tailor the Kanban to suit their own environment and projects.

Kanban boards can also have visual indicators on the concepts (cards) such as colors to indicate status of different attributes.

In the example above, tags are shown as different colors on concepts, where they are tagged or categorized for an organization. This helps identify status of the cards on the Kanban and helps decide which we should focus on.

Agility and Collaboration

But as with enterprise architecture more broadly, the temptation to deploy make-shift Kanban boards for less mature enterprises is strong.

However, such approaches are unscalable, and will quickly have a detrimental effect on an organization’s scope to operate with agility and collaborate.

Organizations that recognize the need for greater agility and collaboration in their enterprise architecture initiatives must employ an enterprise architecture tool that facilitates such an approach, like erwin Evolve.

As well as the ability to create, manage and collaborate on Kanban boards, erwin Evolve provides these core capabilities to help EA programs succeed:

  • Flexible Configuration: On-premise or cloud-hosted with a customizable metamodel and adjustable user interface with user-defined views
  • Enterprise Models: Creation and visualization of complex models for strategy, processes, applications, technologies and data
  • Central Repository: Captures all relevant EA data, supporting thousands of users in central or decentralized environments with access from anywhere and automatic mass updates
  • Collaborative Web Platform: User friendly and business-centric to capture and edit data with surveys and other social features to promote communication between IT and business users
  • Reporting: Diagrams, dashboards, workflows and “what-if” analysis
  • Professional Services: Expertise to help maximize ROI, as well as provide custom develop

You can even try erwin Evolve for yourself – for free – and keep any content you produce should you decide to buy.

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erwin Expert Blog Enterprise Architecture

What Is Agile Enterprise Architecture?

Having an agile enterprise architecture (EA) is the difference between whether an organization flourishes or flounders in an increasingly changing business climate.

Over the years, EA has gotten a bad reputation for not providing business value. However, enterprise architecture frameworks and languages like TOGAF and ArchiMate aren’t responsible for this perception. In fact, these standards provide a mechanism for communication and delivery, but the way enterprise architects historically have used them has caused issues.

Today, organizations need to embrace enterprise architecture – and enterprise architecture tools – because of the value it does provide. How else can they respond to business and IT needs or manage change without first documenting what they have, want and need?

Because that’s exactly what EA addresses. It provides business and IT alignment by mapping applications, technologies and data to the value streams and business functions they support.

Essentially, it’s a holistic, top-down view of an organization and its assets that can be used to better inform strategic planning.

But what is an agile enterprise architecture, and what are its advantages?

The Need for Agile Enterprise Architecture

The old adage that anything of any complexity needs to be modeled before it can be changed definitely holds true.

The issue is that enterprise architects tend to model everything down to an excruciating level of detail, often getting lost in the weeds and rarely surfacing for air to see what the rest of the business is doing and realizing what it needs.

This often makes communicating an organization’s enterprise architecture more difficult, adding to the perception of enterprise architects working in an ivory tower.

Just-in-Time vs Just-Enough Enterprise Architecture

Just in time, just enough and agile development and delivery are phrases we’ve all heard. But how do they pertain to EA?

Just-in-time enterprise architecture

Agile is based on the concept of “just in time.” You can see this in many of the agile practices, especially in DevOps. User stories are created when they are needed and not before, and releases happen when there is appropriate value in releasing, not before and not after. Additionally, each iteration has a commitment that is met on time by the EA team.

Just-enough enterprise architecture

EA is missing the answer to the question of “what exactly is getting delivered?” This is where we introduce the phrase “just enough, just in time” because stakeholders don’t just simply want it in time, they also want just enough of it — regardless of what it is.

This is especially important when communicating with non-EA professionals. In the past, enterprise architects have focused on delivering all of the EA assets to stakeholders and demonstrating the technical wizardry required to build the actual architecture.

Agile Enterprise Architecture Best Practices and Techniques

The following techniques and methods can help you provide just-enough EA:

Campaigns

Create a marketing-style campaign to focus on EA initiatives, gathering and describing only what is required to satisfy the goal of the campaign.

Models

At the start of the project, it doesn’t make sense to build a fancy EA that is going to change anyway. Teams should strive to build just enough architecture to support the campaigns in the pipeline.

Collaboration

Agile teams certainly have high levels of collaboration, and that’s because that level is just enough to help them be successful.

In light of the global pandemic, such collaboration might be more difficult to achieve. But organizations can take advantage of collaborative enterprise architecture tools that support remote working.

Planning

In iteration planning, we don’t look at things outside the iteration. We do just enough planning to make sure we can accomplish our goal for the iteration. Work packages and tasks play a large role in both planning and collaboration.

Agile Enterprise Architecture to Keep Pace with Change

As one of the top job roles in 2020, it’s clear organizations recognize the need for enterprise architects in keeping pace with change.

In modern business, what’s also clear is that maximizing the role’s potential requires an agile approach, or else organizations could fall into the same ivory-tower trappings burdening the discipline in the past.

Organizations can use erwin Evolve to tame complexity, manage change and increase operational efficiency. Its many benefits include:

  • Agility & Efficiency: Achieve faster time to actionable insights and value with integrated views across initiatives to understand and focus on business outcomes.
  • Lower Risks & Costs: Improve performance and profitability with harmonized, optimized and visible processes to enhance training and lower IT costs.
  • Creation & Visualization of Complex Models: Harmonize EA/BP modelling capabilities for greater visibility, control and intelligence in managing any use case.
  • Powerful Analysis: Quickly and easily explore model elements, links and dependencies, plus identify and understand the impact of changes.
  • Documentation & Knowledge Retention: Capture, document and publish information for key business functions to increase employee education and awareness and maintain institutional knowledge, including standard operating procedures.
  • Democratization & Decision-Making: Break down organizational silos and facilitate enterprise collaboration among those both in IT and business roles for more informed decisions that drive successful outcomes.

You can try erwin Evolve for yourself and keep any content you produce should you decide to buy.

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erwin Expert Blog

Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Modeling Tools Have Evolved

Enterprise architecture (EA) and business process (BP) modeling tools are evolving at a rapid pace. They are being employed more strategically across the wider organization to transform some of business’s most important value streams.

Recently, Glassdoor named enterprise architecture the top tech job in the UK, indicating its increasing importance to the enterprise in the tech and data-driven world.

Whether documenting systems and technology, designing processes and value streams, or managing innovation and change, organizations need flexible but powerful EA and BP tools they can rely on for collecting relevant information for decision-making.

It’s like constructing a building or even a city – you need a blueprint to understand what goes where, how everything fits together to support the structure, where you have room to grow, and if it will be feasible to knock down any walls if you need to.

 

Data-Driven Enterprise Architecture

 

Without a picture of what’s what and the interdependencies, your enterprise can’t make changes at speed and scale to serve its needs.

Recognizing this evolution, erwin has enhanced and repackaged its EA/BP platform as erwin Evolve.

The combined solution enables organizations to map IT capabilities to the business functions they support and determine how people, processes, data, technologies and applications interact to ensure alignment in achieving enterprise objectives.

These initiatives can include digital transformation, cloud migration, portfolio and infrastructure rationalization, regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions, and innovation management.

Regulatory Compliance Through Enterprise Architecture & Business Process Modeling Software

A North American banking group is using erwin Evolve to integrate information across the organization and provide better governance to boost business agility. Developing a shared repository was key to aligning IT systems to accomplish business strategies, reducing the time it takes to make decisions, and accelerating solution delivery.

It also operationalizes and governs mission-critical information by making it available to the wider enterprise at the right levels to identify synergies and ensure the appropriate collaboration.

EA and BP modeling are both critical for risk management and regulatory compliance, a major concern for financial services customers like the one above when it comes to ever-changing regulations on money laundering, fraud and more. erwin helps model, manage and transform mission-critical value streams across industries, as well as identify sensitive information.

Additionally, when thousands of employees need to know what compliance processes to follow, such as those associated with regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring not only access to proper documentation but current, updated information is critical.

The Advantages of Enterprise Architecture & Business Process Modeling from erwin

The power to adapt the EA/BP platform leads global giants in critical infrastructure, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to deploy what is now erwin Evolve for both EA and BP use cases. Its unique advantages are:

  • Integrated, Web-Based Modeling & Diagramming: Harmonize EA/BP capabilities with a robust, flexible and web-based modeling and diagramming interface easy for all stakeholders to use.
  • High-Performance, Scalable & Centralized Repository: See an integrated set of views for EA and BP content in a central, enterprise-strength repository capable of supporting thousands of global users.
  • Configurable Platform with Role-Based Views: Configure the metamodel, frameworks and user interface for an integrated, single source of truth with different views for different stakeholders based on their roles and information needs.
  • Visualizations & Dashboards: View mission-critical data in the central repository in the form of user-friendly automated visualizations, dashboards and diagrams.
  • Third-Party Integrations: Synchronize data with such enterprise applications as CAST, Cloud Health, RSA Archer, ServiceNow and Zendesk.
  • Professional Services: Tap into the knowledge of our veteran EA and BP consultants for help with customizations and integrations, including support for ArchiMate.

erwin Evolve 2020’s specific enhancements include web-based diagramming for non-IT users, stronger document generation and analytics, TOGAF support, improved modeling and navigation through inferred relationships, new API extensions, and modular packaging so customers can choose the components that best meet their needs.

erwin Evolve is also part of the erwin EDGE with data modeling, data catalog and data literacy capabilities for overall data intelligence.

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